Excellence in Not-for-Profit Marketing Strategy 2022

In a bid to raise Northland’s vaccination rates in the midst of the pandemic, Māori Health Providers called on RUGBY FOR LIFE to lead a grassroots campaign that would boost the regions’ numbers closer to the national goal of 90 percent vaccinated.

Grassroots campaign tackles Covid

As a Tai Tokerau Northland-based charitable trust who exists to lead social and economic change for the region, Rugby For Life was able to launch the community led ‘Take 2 For The Team’ vaccination initiative within a week of being engaged.

Based on the understanding that Northland largely thought of the Covid pandemic as an overseas and Auckland issue, the campaign included all assets being in English and Te Reo Māori, a campaign landing page, an interactive vaccination events map, the launch of a digital media campaign supporting above the line media to drive awareness, engagement, and even local heroes. 

The initiative began in mid-September when Northland was at just over 60 percent vaccinated. By early December, 87 percent of those in Northland who were eligible had received their first or second dose.

The campaign saw a revised version of the Northland Rugby Union’s Tane the Taniwha mascot holding a syringe and a shield, representing the relentless spirit of Tai Tokerau Northland in tackling Covid-19. 

Instead of using the governments’ yellow and white stripes colour scheme, Northland’s Cambridge Blue colour was interwoven into the branding to ensure it was clear who was involved in the initiative.

A critical part of the campaign included the interactive map on the website’s landing page that made it easy for people to find all the participating clubs, community organisations, and venues with the times and locations of all the vaccination events hosted as part of ‘Take 2 For The Team’.

A monetary incentive was also offered with funding from Te Puni Kōkiri where each club would earn $10 per vaccination delivered.

The campaign also faced the challenges of reaching the 20 percent of the Northland population who do not have access to the internet, as well as making sure all communications were bilingual.

Delivered over 12 weeks, the campaign rolled out 15 percent of the vaccinations in Northland and no doubt influenced many more. With 224 community events, over 11,000 vaccinations were administered through 60 local community clubs and groups, sharing $111,000 of funding.

The ‘Take 2 For The Team’ campaign drew on Rugby For Life’s connection to 54 local community rugby clubs and the community spirit that existed here to touch every community with an active team. This enabled the organisation to effect change at a community level.

Trust is at the very heart of this campaign as well as the strength of the relationships between stakeholders and the trust the community clubs and local and central government agencies that funded the campaign had in Rugby For Life.

This tested marketing strategy has now also been utilised in campaigns promoting local tertiary education providers, fundraising for Plunket and used to increase the numbers of people playing rugby throughout Northland.  

Excellence in Not-for-Profit Marketing Strategy

Rugby For Life

Marketing Initiative
Take 2 For The Team

Marketing Partner
Fastrack Digital NZ

Judges’ Comments
“In a very complex and unique Northland environment, this ‘by Māori for Māori’ activity is a best-in-class grassroots community engagement example which achieved strong results in a very short time frame. Getting to the high number of events in this time showed the strategy reached the target and involved multiple stakeholder engagement. Great competence and capability to get the high level reach. Including an incentive allowed the communities through rugby clubs to support themselves in a time when fundraising was a challenge.”

Māia; MND New Zealand; NZ Mountain Safety Council

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Excellence in Not-for-Profit Marketing Strategy

Open to not-for-profit organisations/charities only, whose activities involve fundraising, community services or any other activities. Note: You may not enter this category if you have entered the Excellence in Public Sector/Government Marketing Strategy category.


This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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